Could AI-Powered Cameras Prove the Solution to Distracted Driving?

September 18th, 2019
AI Powered Cameras and Distracted Driving

Australian company, Acusensus, seems to think so. At the 2019 International Conference on Urban Traffic Safety in Edmonton, Canada, Acusensus, which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to locate distracted drivers, pitched the idea to implement their plan here in Canada, North America, and beyond.

Acusensus utilizes AI-powered cameras, installed similar to photo radar, on the side of the road or above it in order to take high-resolution pictures of each vehicle that passes by. The AI system is then able to go through these pictures to discover which drivers are using their phones.

The company’s main purpose in implementing their idea is to reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities that are caused by distracted driving. The company’s founder, Alexander Jannink, explains that his hope is to get people to back these safety efforts. “We really encourage the community to be behind these kinds of initiatives so that you can have more confidence that you can get home safely.” This has been an issue for many.

In fact, according to CBC News reports, in 2016 distracted driving was responsible for contributing to 21 percent of all fatal collisions across Canada. Unsurprisingly, the report also expressed that most of these distracted driving offenses involved an electronic device, such as a cell phone.

Issues of Privacy

 Some are worried about the privacy implications that such a system could have on the population. It continues to be of great debate. However, Acusensus claims that if the AI is unable to detect a distracted driver in an image it immediately deletes the photo. However, if it does identify a distracted driver it will encrypt the image and send it to the authorities. Currently, the police forces in many parts of the world continue looking to the use of facial recognition technology. The debate surrounding allowing law enforcement agencies to use such tools remains.

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